Will Your Business Strategy Benefit from Personal Branding?

It may seem that personal branding is a thing for freelancers or other sole proprietors who make their names speak for their business reputations. True, freelancers are the most common users of personal brands, but larger businesses can also benefit from personal branding. If we still haven’t convinced you, think of Mark Zuckerberg or Richard Branson. Did it take long for you to think “Facebook” and “Virgin Atlantic”? That’s personal branding for you.

A personal brand becomes an additional vehicle for reaching your audience, as there will be people interested in you as a person and your personal opinions, achievements, statements, and expectations. It is then up to you to channel their interest towards your business and its values.

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Why is personal branding important? True, some companies do well without it, but having a personal brand can widen your opportunities tremendously. The statistics say that 92% of people have better trust in recommendations from other people, even those they do not know personally, than from brands. This is something to think about.

A solid personal brand is not built in a day. Even if you are all alone and there is no company behind you, you still need to work hard to make your name recognizable. Of course, for each of us, the strategy of building a personal brand will be different – that’s why we call it personal – but the general approach may be somewhat similar. In this article, we will outline the basic guidelines of building a personal brand and, even more importantly, growing your personal brand to benefit your business.

Benefits of personal branding

The importance of personal branding for business is represented by the most significant benefits that this strategy is going to bring. In fact, the benefits are almost the same, regardless of whether you are building a personal brand for your own career or crafting a personal brand alongside a business.

Better media presence

There are always some people in your audience who are more inclined to follow personalities rather than corporate brands. When they see a person behind a Twitter account or maintaining a personal website, they will be attracted to you. You are going to get the users who otherwise avoid websites and corporate spaces in social networks or other platforms.

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On the other hand, once you have established yourself as an expert or an opinion leader in your field of knowledge, you will be sought out by media to provide your insights or express your professional visions in articles or interviews. Your association with your business will give additional references to your corporate brand.

Improved trust

Your personal expertise in the field in which your business operates will suggest that you know what you are doing and, therefore, build better trust in your business. By showing that your expertise is based on a profound knowledge and vast practice, you demonstrate to your audience that you apply the same knowledge and practical skills in running your business.

Again, some people tend to trust other people more than faceless corporations. Once you build a personal brand, that brand will also become the face of your business, inspiring confidence in your audience.

Wider network

When you position yourself as an expert in your field and apply your knowledge in the development of your business, other people see the potential value of following you or otherwise establishing a connection. They feel that such a connection may be beneficial for them too.

The same also goes for clients. Your personal authority is reflected in your business, inspiring trust in your potential clients.

Easily controllable content

Your brand is your space where you are the boss. Unlike other public platforms, where you may become a target of negative press, you are fully in control of your own brand. By proactively sharing information about yourself and shaping the image that you want to have, you can prevent hostile content and present yourself the way you want to.

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When you become known in connection with your business or as an entrepreneur, people will start looking you up online. It’s up to you to make them find positive stories about you.

Competitive advantage

Establishing a personal brand gives you an advantage over your competitors. Everybody knows who Coco Chanel was, and the company she established still carries her name high, even almost half a century after her death. There are hundreds of fashion houses, but only one Chanel.

Besides, a personal brand can justify higher prices for your products. Nobody questions the prices of branded products. Without a personal brand, you may need to lower your prices to remain competitive.

Recognition beyond your business

While you may launch more than one business during your career, your personal brand will always remain with you. You may leave one of your enterprises to your partners and open another one or join a functioning business as a partner. In all cases, your brand will follow you anywhere, giving credit to your ventures.

Also, think of how many friends you will make once you turn your name into a recognizable personal brand!

Personal branding for entrepreneurs – tips and recommendations

Building a successful business brand takes a lot of hard and meticulous work. We have put together a brief list of things that you can do to establish a personal brand. We hope it comes in handy when you consider your personal branding strategy.

Evaluate your strengths

To create a brand, start with identifying your strong points. Once you have them clear in your mind, you will see how to combine them for the best personal image. You can enhance your personal brand with:

  • Your education. Of course, the education as such is not enough to build a personal brand on, but the certificates and diplomas of specialized professional courses directly related to your field of knowledge would definitely be a plus.
  • Your skills. Theoretical knowledge translated into practical skills is a great personal asset. If you are running a software development company and are an experienced developer yourself – that’s a great skill to refer to in your personal branding.
  • Your interests. Here, think of what attracts you both in business and your private life. Of course, your business passions should come first, but mentioning that you love cooking or are a big fan of 70s rock music would be a nice personal touch.

Establish your online space

Nowadays, hardly anybody doesn't have at least one social network account. While such an account is a great enhancement to your personal brand, we do recommend creating a personal website. It will become your personal platform where you will share your visions and communicate with your audience.

Include a short bio and a photo, so that each visitor can get to know you face to face. Other sections of your website can contain your personal blog (while we call it personal, it should be business-related, of course), a space for announcements of any significant events of your business, and a news feed where you can include the news of your business and your personal achievements. This is where you will inform your readers about an event you are going to visit, a book you have published, an article you have posted, or a seminar where you have been invited to speak.

Maintaining a personal website allows you to have a private space that is independent of any social network or corporate policies. It will remain yours forever, and you will be the one to set the rules. If one day you decide to start a new business or spin off a new division, you will still have your personal website where you can promote your new venture.

Do not forget social networks

If you are planning a strategy of personal branding for business, an account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is the absolute minimum. Depending on the type of your business, other platforms may be useful too. If the promotion of your business heavily relies on visual perception, you will definitely need an account on Instagram or Pinterest. For video presentations, YouTube is the logical choice.

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If you have had your social network accounts for some time already, they may need some refining. When you are building a personal brand, your private life is no longer as private as it used to be. People will be looking you up anywhere – ultimately, this is what you want them to do! Thus, you need to make sure that what they find adds to your positive professional image. Remove or hide anything too personal or inappropriate, such as party photos or provocative statements.

Your social profiles should blend organically with your overall image of a professional, a business leader, and an expert. Properly organized and maintained social network accounts will become another piece of a complex jigsaw puzzle that is your personal brand.

Post frequently

Having a dormant website or account is worse than having no account at all. Once you have arranged your personal presence, you should maintain it, so that your readers do not lose interest. The specifics of different platforms call for different posting frequencies:

  • Personal blog. The statistics say that 16 or more blog posts in a month increase the inbound traffic by 3.5 times. That’s an impressive figure, but there is a condition – all blog content must be quality content. There is nothing wrong with posting an advertisement of your company product once in a while on your blog, but do not turn it into a daily habit. The rule of thumb is that if you have nothing of interest to post, do not post at all.

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Image credit: Hubspot

  • Facebook, LinkedIn & Instagram. Here, one post per day should be enough. On these networks, you can either post your original content or share other posts related to your industry. Of course, sharing your company news also works, but such shares should not take up 100% of your total activity.
  • Twitter & Pinterest. The format of these networks – short messages or images – calls for posting more frequently. Start with three tweets or pins per day and see whether you can work it up to five. Studies show that the audience engagement rate expressed in retweets peaked at five tweets per day and then declined, growing again at eleven or more tweets per day.

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Image credit: Track Social

These are just some general recommendations based on statistics. By monitoring your website and social network analytics, you will be able to work out the best strategy for you. Another tip is to watch your competitors and try to post a bit more often than they do. And, no matter how often you post, quality should always be more important than quantity.

Respond to your audience

Any social platform is a two-way street. Once you post something, you will get responses from your readers. This is why you started it in the first place, isn’t it? Make sure you respond to your audience by answering their questions, thanking them for feedback, and providing advice when they ask for it.

When you actively respond to other users, you boost their engagement, making them want to visit you again and again. If you choose to only express your opinions and not to maintain any discussions, your users may lose interest in interacting with you. Therefore, monitor the users’ activity on your website and/or social media accounts and actively communicate.

Never stop learning

As Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death”. Learning takes multiple forms – reading books, attending conferences, socializing with other experts, etc. Today, we have virtually unlimited learning opportunities through online courses and master classes. The wonderful thing is that online education does not require you to be physically present, and you can study any time you want.

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Learning something is a great thing to share with your audience. Write a review of a book you have read, post your account of an event you attended, or share a certificate or diploma you have received. This way, you will show that you are staying abreast of the ever-changing world around you. Awareness of the latest innovations is extremely important, especially if your business operates in a rapidly developing technology sector, such as blockchain or IoT.

A personal brand is a long-term investment

If you have read this far, you have probably concluded that building a personal brand for your business is a lot of hard work. That’s right, but it pays off in spades. Growing a recognizable personal brand will definitely take a lot of your time in monitoring your social networks, creating engaging content, and maintaining communication with your audience. Consider that as an investment into the future of your business and of yourself as an entrepreneur.

Turning your name into your brand will help others to see the person that you are, and that means a lot for building trust and confidence in your users. The golden rule is to be honest with your audience and to be the same person you claim to be – there is life beyond the Internet.

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